British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey raised a toast to celebrate The Queen’s 93rd Birthday at Tamarind Mombasa on Friday evening.
“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
“Ni furaha yangu kuwakaribisha nyote katika hii sherehe ya siku ya kuzaliwa kwa malkia Elizabeth (I am delighted to welcome you all to this celebration of the Queen’s Birthday).
“Nimefurahi sana kurudi Pwani tena. Hapa ninajihisi kuwa nyumbani, na vile vile maelfu ya wenzangu ambao husafiri, huishi na kuwekeza katika maeneo ya pwani (I’m delighted to be back on the coast. I feel at home here. So do thousands of my compatriots who travel, live and invest on the coast).
“The Coast is where my country’s story in Kenya began, and with it the thousands of connections between individuals, communities, businesses and cultures which today make up the partnership between the UK and Kenya.
“The Kenyan Coast feels like home, because this is a place where many cultures and many peoples meet. It is a gateway to Kenya and the whole of East Africa, and open to the world. Just like you, the United Kingdom draws strength from our diversity, from our openness to the world, from our global connections. And we celebrate those connections here this evening.
“I want to thank every one of you here tonight for the part you play in weaving the rich fabric that binds our countries together.
“Thanks to you, the UK is supporting the development of the Kenyan coast; helping its institutions to succeed and deliver vital services; enriching people’s lives and offering opportunities to the youth.
“Thanks to you, British investment on the Coast is supporting thousands of jobs.
“Thanks to you, the Coast, Kenya, and the United Kingdom are more secure, better able to deal with terrorism, extremism, and organised crime.
“Let me illustrate all that by telling you about my week.
“On Tuesday, I launched a new programme on sustainable urban development for Malindi town, which won a competition to be one of ten towns and cities across the country to be selected for this new support.
“I opened a UK-funded vehicle checkpoint on the Galana river that will keep the Coast safer.
“I discussed with the Governor the UK’s investment in a new 52Mw power plant outside Malindi, and am pleased to confirm tonight that he has now granted the Development Permit which will allow this project to move forward.
“Here in Mombasa over the last couple of days, I visited Kenya’s new Coastguard service, to which the UK is providing training and support.
“I saw my team from the National Crime Agency working with Kenya Revenue Authority at the Port to track down and seize containers loaded with stolen cars from the UK. They will now work together to go after the criminal gangs responsible.
“I visited the Port Reitz road, funded by UK Aid through TradeMark East Africa, and saw the difference it has made both to transit from the port itself, and to congestion overall in Mombasa.
“With the DPP and the DCI, I broke ground on a new UK-funded headquarters for the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit here in Mombasa.
“With them and Lady Justice Njoki, I launched the first-ever women’s Social Justice Centre in Kenya. It will help ensure women from the most disadvantaged communities can get their voices heard and their issues taken up by the authorities, including on allegations of extra-judicial killings and on gender-based violence.
“And I met Governors and their teams from the Jumia ya Kaunti za Pwani to discuss our support to the region’s economic bloc.
“Meanwhile, we are constantly reminded here on the Coast of the importance of the Blue Economy, and of protecting our marine environment.
“The UK and Kenya are leading the way internationally in that effort.
“When Prime Minister May visited Kenya last August, she announced UK support for a new Scout badge recognising work on plastic waste and pollution. I’m proud that we will be awarding the first of those new badges to the Scouts here this evening.
“Throughout my time in Kenya, I have striven to deepen the UK’s connections to the Kenyan coast. We have opened a new Coastal chapter of the British Chamber of Commerce here. And a new visa centre in Mombasa so people can apply here to visit the UK rather than travelling to Nairobi.
“And tonight I can announce that the British Council will this year be opening a new Exams Centre here in Mombasa. English language exams, including those necessary for UK university admission, and a range of professional qualifications also administered by the Council, will soon be available here in Mombasa rather than requiring a costly trip to Nairobi.
“I have learnt a lot too this week about the big issues on the Coast.
“On my return to Nairobi I will be talking to the national Government about how we can support a stronger strategy on Mombasa Port. We must ensure the gains of recent years in the speed and efficiency of transit through the port are not eroded. If they are, Kenyans will suffer through higher prices and less manufacturing investment. I have also heard from British investors here about some of their difficulties starting new projects, and have encouraged the counties of this region to make an honest assessment of the ease of doing business in each of their jurisdictions, aiming to outdo each other in creating good conditions for investment.
“Everywhere I have been asked about corruption. It is stifling business investment, and taking from wananchi what is legitimately theirs.
“Nothing will do more for Kenya’s future than the success of the President’s anti-corruption campaign. I pledge again tonight that the UK will support him, and the good people he has appointed, to lead this campaign. That includes through the swift repatriation of any proceeds held in the UK once people here in Kenya are convicted of corruption.
“Mabibi na mabwana (ladies and gentlemen),
“Kwa wakati ambao nimekuwa hapa nchini Kenya, nimejitahidi kuimarisha uhusiano na uekezaji wa Uingereza katika eneo hii ya pwani. (During my time in Kenya I have worked to deepen the UK’s connections and investments in region).
“Uingereza imewekeza zaida ya shilingi billioni saba katika bandari la Mombasa na miundombinu yake, na imefadhili mipangilio ya bandari la jiji la Lamu. (The UK has invested over 7 billion shillings in Mombasa port and its infrastructure, and funded the planning of Lamu port city).
“Mipangilio yetu ya ajira kwa vijana na mipango za mafunzo, zimeweza kuleta ajira kwa maelfu hapa eneo la pwani (Our youth employment and training programs have created thousands of jobs here).
“Tumefungua pia afisi la British Chamber of Commerce tawi la pwani, na kituo cha kuomba cheti cha kusafiri (visa office) hapa Mombasa (We have opened a coastal UK chamber of commerce, and a visa application centre in Mombasa).
“Wiki hii nilifungua kituo cha ukaguzi wa magari huko Malindi, na tukaanzisha makao makuu mapya ya ATPU hapa mjini Mombasa (This week I opened the Malindi vehicle checkpoint and broke ground on the new Anti Terror Police Unit, ATPU, headquarters here).
“Pamoja na washirika wengi humu nchini Kenya, Uingereza umeimarisha maisha ya watu wanaoishi maeneo ya pwani ya Kenya. Leo ninasisitiza tena kujitolea kwa Uingereza na ushirikiano wetu kwa miaka zaidi ijayo (Together with many Kenyan partners, the UK is making a difference to the lives of people along the Kenyan coast. Today I recommit the UK to our partnership for the years ahead).
“Mungu awabariki nyote, na Mungu aibariki Kenya (God Bless you all, God Bless Kenya).”